1. Welcome to the CivilWarTalk, a forum for questions and discussions about the American Civil War! Become a member today for full access to all of our resources, it's fast, simple, and absolutely free! If you aren't ready for that, try posting your question or comment as a guest!

Florida's "Cow Cavalry" and more....

Discussion in 'The South & Western Theaters' started by 5fish, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. 5fish

    5fish 2nd Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    3,381
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Here a treat form Florida role in the Civil war....Florida was the main supplier of beef to the confederacy during the war....They organized the "Cow Cavalry" to protect the beef herds....


    The "Cow Cavalry"

    Small militia groups were formed to protect the inner part of Florida. These units were mostly made up of ranchers and cowhands. They were called the "Cow Cavalry." Small numbers of Union soldiers would hold cavalry raids in south Florida to capture cattle. The Union Navy would also conduct raids along the coast trying to destroy the salt work plants. It was the mission of the cow cavalry to protect the cattle ranches, salt works, and small towns of south Florida. Numerous small battles occurred as the groups met, but most battles were never documented. Florida's greatest contribution to the war, besides the 5,000 Floridian men who fought, was food supplies. Florida sent beef, pork, fish, and fruit to the Confederate troops. A vital part of the Confederate strategy was to keep Florida's inland roads and rivers protected so that the supplies could get safely northward. The soldiers of the "Cow Calvary" helped keep the Confederate army supplied with food from Florida.

    I have tried to find more on then but have not been successful at finding much...I found this on cowboys in Florida....

    http://fcit.usf.edu/florida/lessons/cowboys/cowboys.htm

    This site tells a a little more about the union trying to stop the cattle shipments to the confederacy....The union's "Florida Ranger" cavalry....

    http://www.naples-marco-island-florida.com/cracker.html

    See, Florida had its little own range war....

  2. (Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
  3. kansas

    kansas Corporal

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    404
    Location:
    herington kansas
    Florida was a cool place during the war, pretty wild and far out in places. I hope a great deal more work is done in the future to dig up records and such on the goings ons of that state during the war. I read one pretty good book on it but cant remember the title at the moment. Slaves, free men of color as they were called then, some native americans, deserters, conscript avoiders, soldiers, militia, yankees, blockade runners, ner do wells, refugees, cowboys, and plain old citizens all trying to get by during the war. I really like the saltworks both confederate and private to read about as well as their transportation. The Columbus georgia arsenal helped supply Florida somewhat during the war, a couple of small shipments are listed. I also ran across some info once on hides for leather being shipped to one of the georgia arsenals.
  4. 5fish

    5fish 2nd Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    3,381
    Location:
    Central Florida
    I was hoping for someone a little more info on the "cow cavalry"....

    You think those bushwhacker in Missouri and Kansas were tough but these Florida cavalry men had bugs(I mean Bugs), moist heat, swamps and jungles and the union shooting at them. Those western cavalry folk had no bugs or swamps just flat lands to ride on...Florida had little or no roads but then south of the panhandle..
  5. thrashassault

    thrashassault Cadet

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2009
    Messages:
    119
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    This year on Vacation I went to Florida and saw the Monument at Fort Myers for the Battle of Fort Myers. Also went to the Oulstee Battlefield.
  6. dvrmte

    dvrmte Major

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Messages:
    9,016
    Location:
    South Carolina
    I don't know about the cow cavalry but Florida and south Georgia let their cattle free range. They were small, skittish cattle that were allowed to browse in the wild and breed on their on. The beef was about the lowest quality there was, lean and tough. It required very little input of labor and money and cattle were raised this way into the 1940's.

    dvrmte
  7. kansas

    kansas Corporal

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    404
    Location:
    herington kansas
    The best info i have on them is the cattle drives. A civilian drover and his partner drove and sold cattle from Florida to the confederate government until about 1863, unhappy with selling to Cousin Sam they stopped and began to drive and smuggle cattle to the Spanish for gold instead of near worthless paper money. The government then hired a civilian speculator to organize a plan to drive 3000 head per month to Georgia and or South Carolina on 30 day droves with some protection from Florida cavalry. The expectations of a far away government sitting in their offices was a great deal different then the real life job of doing the gathering and driving so the numbers fell short, but efforts were kept up until the end of the war. The only othger thing i have run across is two orders from Columbus Georgia to the Florida cavalry of arms, saddles, ammo, canteens etc. in 1863. One more possible is a report from a Union blockader captain of capture of a boatlaod of shotguns from Birmingham intended for the Florida cavalry defending the civilian saltworks. Various other reports of hides being shipped from Florida to Columbus and compalints from the western troops early in the war about Florida pickled beef, the salt taste was very strong and it took a bit to get used to.
  8. proud texan

    proud texan Sergeant

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Messages:
    968
    Location:
    East T E X A S
    These are the "Cracker Cattle" http://crackercattle.org/ They are the Florida version of the TEXAS Longhorn. I raise cattle much in the same way they did..free range, no feed, and wild as goats. There aren't many breeds that can take the conditions that these type of cattle thrive in i.e. heat , mosquitos and coarse forage. I have Brahma, F1 Brangus,Cracker and Longhorn crosses. My cattle are on saltmarsh islands here in SE TEXAS. And they are TOUGH!
  9. dvrmte

    dvrmte Major

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Messages:
    9,016
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Do you allow them to breed on their own or give them vaccinations, wormers, etc?

    I understand that in southeast they were allowed to do everything in the wild. They just rounded them up and drove them to market.

    There used to be some of those cattle still running wild on the Savannah River Site (nuclear bomb plant) in South Carolina. The SRS sits on about 200,000 acres of mostly woodland. They allow organized dog hunts for deer by drawing. They want you to shoot every deer, cow, goat, coyote or pig that comes by your stand. I haven't heard of anyone seeing a cow in over twenty years though.
  10. proud texan

    proud texan Sergeant

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Messages:
    968
    Location:
    East T E X A S
    They breed on their own and I pen them twice a year for worming. Matter of fact I wormed them two weeks ago. Very invigorating to say the least. The main pastures die off during the winter; we (area cattlemen) burn the marshes off in the early winter to allow the tender salt grass shoots to be grazed. We have hog problems out there and it's a free for all on hog killin'.:smile: Attached is my sweet little 14 yr old daughter after cleaning one of the hogs she killed.:laugh1: Chelsies Hog.jpg
  11. dvrmte

    dvrmte Major

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Messages:
    9,016
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Save that picture for when she brings a boy home to meet you. My boys grew up helping me dress and process deer. I had them holding organs out of the way to remove the diaphram when they were five or six. My oldest granddaughter is five but she hasn't got up the nerve yet to assist. My son takes her hunting (observing more like it) and she likes to fish with her pink "Barbi" rod and reel.

    When Europeans first explored South Carolina, much of it was open and lightly forested due to the Indians constantly burning it off for hunting and ease of travel. Even at the time of the WBTS there were still some of these areas maintained by settlers for grazing by burning. During the Revolution, the battle of Cowpens took place at Hannah's Cowpens. It was one of those open areas taken over by white settlers from the Indians.

    dvrmte

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)

Share This Page